What is it about guilt that causes some caregivers to suffer?
What’s worse is some of us become paralyzed by guilt.
How fair is that?
During the almost twenty years, I’ve specialized in serving caregivers for people with dementia, I’ve learned that guilt has a stronghold on some while others step aside to let guilt pass.
Unsure, I’d question every detail after my husband and I moved my father from his Wisconsin home of forty-five years into our California home. Unknowing, I didn’t even know what questions to ask.
Like a habit, guilt regularly casts clouds upon our lives, even though we’ve already extended ourselves beyond what is humanely possible.
Do we choose to feel guilt? In a way, yes when it becomes a habitual response. Popular societal beliefs perpetuate this with sayings like God won’t give you more than you can handle.
When we face reality of just how much energy caregiving requires of our time, emotions, mental, and physical, and that we’re doing all we can, there’s no room left for guilt.
I was doing the best I knew how to give my father a quality life for his last years living with dementia and later, Alzheimer’s.
Yet, guilt persists and creeps into those narrow channels of our lives filled with self-doubt.
We wonder if we’re doing enough. We wonder if we’re doing the right things. We wonder…
We need help letting go of guilt.
Is there a spray or something we can use to eradicate guilt? Maybe we need a new product called Guilticide.
Are you smiling? Good. Me too.
Before the folks on Shark Tank consider marketing a bottle of Guilticide, let’s look at one alternative treatment that feels good–HUMOR. Humor helps us stop the maddening downward spiral of depression and push away guilt. Let’s laugh and send some serotonin to our brains. We deserve it.
Click to read my article for U.S. News & World Report on Coping with Caregiver Guilt.